Following reports that up to 300 asylum seekers in Glasgow could have their locks changed and be evicted, being forced to sleep on the city's streets, Marion Carson, Glasgow City Mission's Pastoral Care Co-ordinator reminds us of the biblical call to speak truth to power.
“Let justice roll down like waters, And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24, NRSV)
Recent reports that some asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow are being threatened with eviction are deeply troubling. The story is this. Serco, a company which has housed many asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow, have said that they will be evicting 300 people from their homes. According to a report in the Guardian, a Serco representative has said that they have been providing accommodation free of charge to people whose application for asylum has failed. They say that they cannot do this indefinitely and so will be starting to evict people this coming week.
Immigration is of course a highly sensitive issue – people have different views, and the politics can be complex. There will be much that we do not know about the situation, much that is not reported. Questions arise as to why Serco has been providing accommodation free of charge in the first place, and about the relationship between the Home Office and the company. Nevertheless, whatever is going on behind the scenes, and whatever your political views, from a Christian perspective it can only be viewed as wrong that the most vulnerable of people are rendered homeless. It is a matter of justice.
As the Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann reminds us, the prophets in Israel were instructed by God to “speak truth to power” (Truth Speaks to Power: The Countercultural Nature of Scripture Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press 2013). Injustice was not to go unchallenged. Not only that, Brueggemann notes, Jesus continued that prophetic tradition, and he also asked us to care for those at the margins of society – “least of these” (Matthew 25:40).
This Biblical imperative does not necessarily mean that we should all become involved in politics (Jesus himself did not), but it does mean a responsibility to speak out against injustice when we see it, and to serve those who are its victims.
Please pray for those who are living under the threat of eviction, for those in positions of power, and for the staff and volunteers of Glasgow City Mission as they seek to be obedient to God’s will in these turbulent and perplexing times.
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